Go Faster, Get Rounder
Jun 20, 2014 1:21pm
Re: Need some recommendations please
Well, I have a couple recommendations for you.
For all of these, however, you need to download them (e.g., from a bit torrent client using links to the shows from Etree), put them on CD, and play them back on a conventional stereo capable of reproducing bass well below 40 hz.
Play these LOUD. I really and truly mean LOUD. I like seeing music live best, but if I am not seeing it live, I like playing back live music at high volume. So I like loud music, I'll admit. But, even considering my proclivity for loud music, these next recommendations are ones that truly won't work unless they are played back at genuinely high volume. Good music is always better loud. The best music demands to be listened to loud.
No freaking little bitty headphone, earbuds, car stereo, or crappy stereo for this stuff: That would be like signing the Mona Lisa with a spray can and calling it art, if not outright blasphemy. Part of the reason the Grateful Dead can do something that I have never felt with any other band is because you FEEL it too. You need to be listening to the music and feeling Phil at the same time. Especially for these recommendations.
This first recommendation is a 68 show that displays several sides to the band from the more raw and primal stuff to more jazz influenced. I consider this truly prime stuff:https://archive.org/details/gd1968-02-02.sbd.miller.97345.sbeok.flac16
This next recommendation is also pretty much at the top of my short list of best of the best. It's not just me: This night and string of shows were highly regarded by some pretty knowledgeable Deadheads,e.g., Dick Latvala. This is from the night after (9/28/72) the show that appeared on DP 11 (9/27/72). https://archive.org/details/gd1972-09-28.sbd.miller.94268.sbeok.flac16https://archive.org/details/gd1972-09-28.110020.sbd.BEAR.gem.flac16
(These are both very good quality copies.)
The whole show is great, but the second set has NEVER LEFT my frequently played rotation since I got a copy of it in 1984. They just whip your emotions every which way throughout the second set. If I could commend your attention to one hour of particularly fine music in particular:
He's Gone [12:26] > The Other One [28:18] > Me And Bobby McGee [5:44] > The Other One [3:32] > Wharf Rat [10:25] ;
Phil does some of the coolest work ever during the jam out of He's Gone (before he solos with Bill). He lays these incredibly cool runs across the top that to this day make me laugh out loud when I hear it -- it is just too cool. The Other One is seminal: One of the best ever. About 20-25 minutes into The Other One, they melt it down and Jerry lets loose with a ferocious Tiger that makes you grin and wince at the same time. They then turn on a dime from playing a totally harshed out "Tiger" to playing a totally beautiful, mellow, and sublime "Bobby McGee," and if it isn't the best Bobby McGee ever done, I don't know what would be: It is just exquisite.
Writing about the transition between The Other One and Bobby McGee is truly like dancing about architecture: An exercise in futility. You simply have to experience yourself. Whatever you do, listen to this loud. If you only ever listen to one hour of music in your whole life at a really high volume level, make it this one.
I normally listen mostly to 68-74, with a decent percentage up through 82, and not as much of the later stuff (keyboards too high for my taste and Phil and Bob too low). But, one later thing that I have been listening to regularly since it happened is this Estimated: https://archive.org/details/gd84-10-05.sbd.sacks.2591.sbeok.shnf
(I sure hope there is a better SBD in the vault and that they release it as a Dave's Picks or something.)
I would also absolutely get a good AUD of it and listen to it that way too. I think this one is pretty darn good: https://archive.org/details/gd1984-10-05.nak300.holtz.gems.87757.sbeok.flac16
If you are playing this back properly, good system and really, really LOUD, when you get about 4:45 into it you should be thinking that your walls are going to start blowing apart and that your brain will be blowing apart shortly after that. Now imagine what that was like when you were there in a kinda rickety, shaky old place. I wasn't there for Phil's Earthquake space, but I can imagine what it was like. This couldn't have been that far off.
Also, don't miss the Viola Lee Blues, Dancing in the Streets, That's It for the Other One, Good Loving, and Morning Dew from Harpur College (5/2/70) (Dick's Picks 8). Those are all great versions. Then, listen to the beast when it is more refined, yet still at the height of its considerable powers: Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, 10/19/73 (Dick's Picks 19). The Dark Star --> Mind Left Body Jam --> Morning Dew string in particular deserves your undivided attention (and that won't be hard to give)and best efforts at cranking your volume as high as you can.
Other things worth mentioning in particular include 12/8/68; 2/27/69 - 3/2/69; 4/21/69 (That's It for the Other One); 6/8/69 (Dancing through New Potato); 2/11/70; 9/19/70 (Dark Star); 2/18/70 (has "Beautiful Jam", but whole show is great); 11/20 and 21/73 (Road Trips); and pretty much anything from September, October, and November 1972 and most of 1973.
Hope this helps.